Game review on Microsoft Windows
Domenic Noble / Sun 20th Dec 2015
662 views / 8 bites
Simulation games were introduced sometime around the 1980s, and one of the first was the 1984 space simulator, Elite. A 3D wireframe game where you could trade, mine, pirate or join the military, the space sandbox allowed players to choose their own path.
Carrying on a thirty year legacy comes Elite's fourth instalment; Elite Dangerous.
You will be dropped into the deep end, a handful of credits to your name and a loaned ship to make your fortune with. Over 400 billion star systems are out in the galaxy, each and everyone is to be discovered and mapped out by captains like you.
There are pirates on every trade route, and you could always join them, be the hero and hunt them down, or be the daring trader to run the perilous paths.
The choices are your own, take to the Milky Way and achieve the rank all commanders long for, Elite.
Elite: Dangerous is a first person space simulator, and the game is viewed from the cockpit of your spacecraft. There are a lot of controls to get used to; every one essential to making the game more immersive and detailed. Your menus don't pause the game.
Jumping between systems requires you to look at another screen, turning away from the space-view window, and telling your navigation computer to map a route. In this time it is quite possible to be attacked - or if you have left the throttle on full - to fly into a star and destroy yourself.
Combat works as any flight and space simulator does; like a dogfight, flying around and trying not to be shot, while trying to blow your target up. This can be quite difficult as your ship has limited power and has restricted distribution.
In fights you have to choose; give up some engine power to be slower and more shielded, or lower the shield recharge rate and boost your weapons. Your shields are down, where do you take power from? The choices have to be made fast, and the wrong one can mean death.
The graphics of this 1:1 scale space simulator are what you would expect of space. Each planet glows, off in the distance, like looking at Mars from Earth, until you get close and then you can see the detailing, making space breath-taking.
The user interface is all holographic, floating just over the dash of your ship, labelling out your ship's details, your plotted route, incoming signals. Everything is to a Sci-Fi lover's expectations.
With minimal music within the game, the audio focus is all based on action. The game focuses on total immersion, trying to put the player in the cockpit, flying their own ship, and it has been done extremely well. However, I was hoping to hear what music Frontier Developments would play as you fly through the galaxy.
There are times where some sounds are just deafening compared to the others. Speeding up, you can barely hear anything, whereas if you crash full speed into a wall, the sound is pretty quiet in comparison, making audio fairly inconsistent.
VERDICT With no story to follow but your own, Elite: Dangerous has really given freedom to the players. Secrets are being discovered all the time, to the point even end game players are still finding hidden objects placed by the Frontier Development team. That alone has built up enough hype for me to try and find something strange before anyone else.